If ever a topic will get people worked up, it is the Post 9/11 GI Bill Transfer of Education Benefits (TEB) program. This extremely generous program allows service members who are still serving to transfer some or all of their education benefits to their spouse or child(ren.) As with anything government, the program has some inequities and there are a myriad of important details. The most important things you need to know are:
1. All transfers of benefits must be done before you begin your terminal leave. I recommend you do a transfer as soon as you are eligible. You can always revoke or modify the transfer later, but once you miss the opportunity to initiate a transfer, the opportunity is gone forever.
2. You must have at least six years of eligible service, and agree to serve an additional four years, unless precluded by policy or statute.
3. Transfers of eligibility are done via the MilConnect website. You can log in using your DFAS/MyPay login information, your DoD Self-Service login, or a CAC card. Once in the MilConnect website, click on the Transfer of Education Benefits (TEB) link. A screen will generate that includes all your eligible beneficiaries.
4. Select an amount of benefit to transfer to each person, from a minimum of one month per person up to a total of 36 months of benefits. I recommend you transfer 1 month to each eligible beneficiary – you can always modify or revoke your transfer later. Better to err on the side of caution and maximize your flexibility.
5. You MUST return to the TEB website at a later time to ensure that your transfer was accepted. At this point, you can print off a copy of the accepted transfer. This is your permanent record that the transfer was processed.
As you may know, I think that the transferrability of the Post 9/11 GI Bill is a costly gift that our country can not actually afford, and I think that the benefits will be eroded over time. Therefore, I recommend that you use it quickly, either for yourself, your spouse, or a child that is going to college in the immediate future. On the other hand, if you are nearing separation or retirement, it might benefit you to wait until you’ve left active duty so that you or your spouse can collect the BAH benefit.
The Post 9/11 GI Bill is an amazing benefit of military service – be sure you can take the most possible advantage of it.